Paris terror attacks: 2016 hopefuls express shock, condolences

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Jeb Bush

WASHINGTON — White House hopefuls Friday evening swiftly responded to the deadly Paris terror attacks, which left more than 150 dead in a series of shootings and explosions.

The responses ranged from prayers and condolences to calls for a muscular response against jihadist extremism, offering hints to the kinds of foreign policy the candidates might implement if elected commander-in-chief.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told radio host Hugh Hewitt he was “not surprised” by the attack, calling for the U.S. to bolster its alliances with European nations to share intelligence.

“This is the war of our time, and we have to be serious in engaging and creating a strategy to confront it and take it out,” Bush said.

Ben Carson said he would use “every resource known to man” to eliminate terrorists, and expressed concern that a U.S. pledge to accept Syrian refugees would allow terrorists to infiltrate the homeland.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz echoed those concerns, and said Friday’s attacks represented an “escalation” in the fight between western civilization and jihadists.

“We must now face the facts,” Cruz said in a statement. “Between the downing of the Russian jet over Egypt and this massive coordinated attack on Paris, we are seeing an unmistakable escalation of ISIS’ ambitions.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio called on the U.S. to help the French punish the attackers, saying in a statement that “We cannot let those who seek to disrupt our way of life succeed.”

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, arguably the GOP field’s most hawkish aspirant, said the U.S. should lead the fight to combat terrorism.

“There is a sickness in the world that has to be dealt with, and the civilized world must come together to confront it. America should lead that unity,” he said in a statement on Friday.

Democratic Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a statement he was “horrified by the cowardly attacks against innocent civilians in Paris.”

Meanwhile, Ohio Gov. John Kasich chose to lead a prayer during a town hall meeting in New Hampshire.

“Dear Lord, we keep the families in Paris in our prayers, the children who’ve been frightened to learn of the death of maybe their mom, dad, brother or sister. We know this evil can be all around us, but we know in the end it’s the strength you provide.”

He added: “We’ll stand with them Lord, here across the ocean in the United States. We will do our best to hold them in our arms to be with them in this terrible time of grief and terrible tragedy. Amen.”

Other candidates chose to express their condolences over Twitter.

“My prayers are with the victims and hostages in the horrible Paris attacks. May God be with you all,” Donald Trump tweeted.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement that America should stand with allies to “wage and win the struggle against terrorism and violent extremism.”

Carly Fiorina used similar language, tweeting that “I mourn with you. I pray with you. I stand with you. America must lead in the world. We must wage & win this fight against Islamic terrorism.”

“Our thoughts are with the people of France. Please say a prayer for Paris as they deal with this horrible attack,” said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Former New York Gov. George Pataki, who was in office during the 9/11 attacks, said he was praying for a “swift resolution.”

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley shared: “Heartbreaking news from Paris. Praying for the country and its people. -O’M”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tweeted, “The terrorist attacks in France tonight are alarming and heartbreaking. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.”

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum called for Americans to be “vigilant against evil.”

“Tonight we pray for and mourn with our French brothers and sisters. Today’s horror is another reminder that we must be vigilant against evil,” he tweeted.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tweeted, “My prayers are with the people of Paris, France. America will always have your back in the war against terrorism. Always.”

“My thoughts & prayers are with the people of Paris. America must stand united with France as they face this truly horrific act of terrorism,” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul tweeted.